Assignment Purpose: The student should explain to an audience of general readers how American history has impacted Black Americans in relation to policing and incarceration in the present day, and demonstrate competence at synthesizing ideas by using at least two sources of support in the essay and citing those sources correctly according to MLA format for in-text documentation and a Works Cited page.
For your essay, please respond to the following prompt:
According to required reading, viewing, and listening materials posted in our class, what are some of the most important ways that the histories of policing and incarceration intersect with race in the United States, and how do these intersections impact Black Americans today? In responding to this question, you must draw on at least two different sources you’ve been required to read, watch, and/or listen to for our class. Some of the things you may consider addressing, if you’d like, in the second part of this question might be policing practices, incarceration rates, how white people often view Black people, etc.
I would strongly encourage you to begin with prewriting. First, revisit the assigned resources. (And remember from the NFG Chapter 2, as an active, critical reader, you should be highlighting, annotating, coding, and ideally note-taking as you work through assigned resources.) Once you’ve revisited those resources and your brain is focusing on the assigned topic, begin that prewriting and follow the “rules” of my lecture over prewriting (if that works well for you). Come up with as much as you can before you take a break!
Also, make sure that you come up with a thesis statement, in response to the prompt above, that ties things together. You may want to come up with a tentative thesis statement only after you’ve exhausted your brain on prewriting. One good way to come up with a working thesis statement is to simply answer, in a complete sentence, the question presented by the essay prompt. Or here’s another possibility: first come up with a limited topic that your entire essay is going to cover (based on the assignment prompt and possibly your prewriting in response), and then come up with a focused “So what?” (a main point or controlling idea) about that topic that seems like it will tie everything together.
Finally, as your first attempt at writing an academic essay this semester, you should strive to write in a more formal style than you probably used for Essay 1. See my Style lecture, located in the Style Module in Canvas.
In your response, make sure that your essay has the following:
An introductory paragraph that:
connects with and/or “hooks” your reader
builds a “foundation” for your reader to understand the significance/importance of your topic
either: a) states a clear thesis that has both a “topic” and a “So what?” to it, and responds directly to the question you’ve chosen to address, or b) clearly communicates to the reader the main topic or issue of the essay
Body paragraphs that:
are unified by an underlined topic sentences at the beginning of each; remember, like a thesis, each topic sentence should have both a “topic” and a “So what?”.
develop and/or support your ideas by showing, and not just telling, your reader, with plenty of specific details, examples, explanations, descriptions, active verbs, comparisons, etc.
have coherence by being well-organized and using transitional words and phrases (both at the beginning of those paragraphs and anywhere relevant within the paragraphs)
A concluding paragraph that:
wraps up/rounds off your essay
states a clear thesis that has both a “topic” and a “So what?” to it, and responds directly to the questions you’ve chosen to address (only if you chose option b) in your introduction)
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